The Bears wideout, along with several of his teammates, including running back Tarik Cohen and fellow receiver Darnell Mooney, expressed interest in changing numbers if and when the proposal passes.
Per Larry Mayer on the Bears official website: “The proposal needs approval from 24 of the 32 NFL owners to be adopted. The difficulty of assigning numbers by position increased last year when practice squads expanded from 10 to 16 players. It’s especially challenging for the Bears, whose 14 retired numbers are the most of any NFL team.”
Considering the team’s storied history, and the fact that the franchise has had more players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame than any other NFL franchise, it’s not a surprise there are currently so many unavailable jersey numbers in Chicago. If this new rule passes, though, there will very likely be several Bears players sporting new numbers.
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Which Positions Are Eligible for the Change in Jersey Numbers?
Key positional groups on both sides of the ball could see a numbers swap in their futures. Here’s a breakdown of who will be allowed to wear what if the proposal passes:
- Running backs: Currently allowed to wear: 20-49 — Numbers that may be added for RBs: (1-19, 80-89)
- Wide receivers: Currently allowed to wear: 10-19, 80-89 — Numbers that may be added for WRs: (1-9, 20-49)
- Tight ends: Currently allowed to wear: 40-49, 80-89 — Numbers that may be added for TEs: (1-39)
- Linebackers: Currently allowed to wear: 40-49, 50-59, 90-99 — Numbers that may be added for LBs: (1-39)
- Defensive backs: Currently allowed to wear: 20-49 — Numbers that may be added for DBs: (1-19)
The following positions would not see their jersey numbers changed by the new rule:
- Quarterbacks: 1-19
- Offensive linemen: 50-79
- Defensive linemen: 50-79, 90-99
- Punters and kickers: 1-19
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A-Rob, Mooney May Be Among Those Wearing Different Numbers This Season
When news broke that the Chiefs were trying to expand which numbers certain positional groups can wear, several players on the Bears offense seemed intrigued by the possibility.
“Uno me,” Robinson wrote on Twitter in response to the proposal. The Bears’ top wide receiver wore No. 8 in college at Penn State, so his request for No. 1 is slightly out of the blue, but nonetheless an appropriate one considering his role on the team.
Legendary running back Bronko Nagurski wore No. 3 for the Bears, but second-year wideout Mooney wouldn’t mind switching from No. 11 to No. 3, if possible. “I need that 3 but it’s retired,” Mooney Tweeted.
Gadget back Cohen was also excited about the potential change:
All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson could also switch from No. 39 to No. 4, which was his college number with the Crimson Tide, although he hasn’t weighed in like some of his teammates on social media. It all depends on whether the NFL passes the proposed rule change — but if the league does, look for several playmakers to be sporting different jersey numbers next season.